username
X
password
register
for free!
help
GuidesRoutes
 
Photosets
 
 Comments
triplogs   photosets   labels comments more
Silver Bell Trail - 9 members in 14 triplogs have rated this an average 4.2 ( 1 to 5 best )
14 triplogs
  All Months
14 Triplogs
Jan
0
Feb
0
Mar
10
Apr
1
May
0
Jun
0
Jul
0
Aug
0
Sep
0
Oct
3
Nov
0
Dec
0
 
Mar 29 2021
DixieFlyer
avatar

 Guides 60
 Routes 609
 Photos 8,544
 Triplogs 543

male
 Joined Jan 07 2017
 Fountain Hills,
Waldron - Dripping Springs - Silver Bell LoopNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 29 2021
DixieFlyer
Hiking11.50 Miles 2,420 AEG
Hiking11.50 Miles   5 Hrs   53 Mns   2.46 mph
2,420 ft AEG   1 Hour   12 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
This was the first of 2 days of hiking in the Grand Canyon, and since I had never done this loop before I thought that I would give it a shot.

We followed the excellent driving track from @John9L to get to the TH. The road is fine for an SUV when dry.

We did the loop CCW with a side-trip on the Hermit Trail down to Santa Maria Spring.

There were several people on the Hermit Trail -- more than I expected for a Monday morning. Several people were hanging around Santa Maria Spring. We did not see any other hikers on the rest of the hike though.

My favorite part of the hike was on the Dripping Springs Trail -- there were some great Grand Canyon views. The climb out on the Silver Bell Trail was fun also.

We saw several stray horses once on the forest roads. As another poster mentioned, there were quite a few site-seeing helicopters flying overhead while on the forest roads.

This is a fun loop, and it would be a good one to do in warm or hot weather since you don't descend too far into the canyon. However, walking on the forest roads isn't the reason that most people go to the Grand Canyon.
Fauna
Fauna
Wild horse
Named place
Named place
Dripping Spring

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Dripping Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Water was dripping pretty good

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Santa Maria Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
the spring box was full
_____________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. -- Edward Abbey
1 archive
Apr 15 2017
arizona_water
avatar

 Guides 9
 Routes 118
 Photos 1,079
 Triplogs 118

31 male
 Joined Mar 06 2016
 Salt River Valle
Waldron - Dripping Springs - Silver Bell LoopNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 15 2017
arizona_water
Hiking10.54 Miles 2,394 AEG
Hiking10.54 Miles   5 Hrs   28 Mns   2.07 mph
2,394 ft AEG      22 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
After reading about this loop in Bifrost's recent trip report, I decided it would make for a good car-camp-and-hike kind of weekend.

We had a group of eight who met up late on Friday night, and camped off of FR328. We left early Saturday morning for the trailhead. The Waldron Trail was my favorite part of this loop. Due to the nature of NPS fee-free day, and a weekend, Hermit Trail had a lot of traffic. But since this loop only follows Hermit for less than a mile, the crowded feeling did not detract from an enjoyable hike.

We continued on to Dripping Springs. I had never been here before, and I guess it's worth seeing once. Several people in our group filled up their bottles here. I'm not a proponent of drinking untreated spring water, especially after running environmental samples myself at a genomics lab when I was a grad student at NAU. The reality is that there are pathogens present in surface water that are also found in groundwater/spring water. Another way to say this is: there's no such things as "clean" drinkable water found in the environment. Can you drink it and not get sick? Sure! happens all the time. But personally, I prefer to not take the chance.
:wrt:


Anywayyyy. Climbing out of the canyon via Silver Bell was great. I love the solitude and primitive feel that this trail offers. Once we were back on the rim, it was a 4+ mile walk along the park boundary road (and some other decommissioned jeep tracks). This would have been moderately enjoyable, had we not just hiked in the Grand Canyon a couple miles prior. It's hard to measure up to those views. So that made the road walk less enjoyable. Also, there was incessant noise from the hundreds of sight-seeing helicopters that flew overhead. We counted one every 3 minutes. That was a little frustrating. But overall, great hike. One that I likely won't do again, because there are too many other hikes in this area that I still have to try.

Finally, I would like to note that this loop would best be enjoyed clockwise. We went counter clockwise, and so you get the road and helicopter miles for the last 80-90 minutes on your way back to the TH. Why not knock this part out first, early in the morning before the air traffic gets bad?

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Dripping Spring Dripping Dripping
hehe

dry Horsethief Tank Dry Dry
So dry
_____________________
- there's nothing like finding Water in the Desert -
2 archives
Oct 30 2016
BiFrost
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 375
 Photos 8,365
 Triplogs 1,017

52 male
 Joined Nov 20 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Waldron - Dripping Springs - Silver Bell LoopNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 30 2016
BiFrost
Hiking10.98 Miles 2,458 AEG
Hiking10.98 Miles   6 Hrs      1.95 mph
2,458 ft AEG      23 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners partners
slowandsteady
After doing Cardenas Butte the day before we decided on Waldron-Dripping Springs-Silverbell Loop. We've had this one on the list for awhile wanting to do Waldron Trail but make a loop out of it instead of out and back. Starting from the locked gate TH we headed in on Waldron Trail to sign about 3/4 mile in. The trail then meanders down canyon and within 1/2 mile we started seeing views of the canyon. Shortly after that the trail pops over a small ridge and then opens up to the Hermit Basin below and bigger views of the canyon. Lots of switchbacks down to the Hermit Trail junction and glad we were not going up this section.

From the Hermit junction headed short ways to the Dripping Springs junction and being somewhat early we decided to check out Santa Maria Spring only 1/2 mile down Hermit Trail. Ran into 3 backpackers around the spring and talked to them for awhile who were headed for Hermit CG. Then went back to the Dripping Springs junction and continued on to the spring. Ran into 3 day hikers on the way there and at the spring. The normal drip coming off the spring but we had plenty of water for the day.

After nice break at Dripping Springs we headed up Silver Bell Trail which we had done with backpacks a few years back as part of the GEMs hike. Much easier this time without the backpack but still the trail is challenging in the first mile crossing Coconino layer that climbs steeply above Dripping Springs. Eventually the trail follows the drainage and tops out on the rim. From here we followed old road that crosses the rim area. I wasn't 100% sure if all roads connected back to the Waldron TH but they did. Getting back to the vehicle was quicker than expected which followed good path and even tracked part of the park boundary road. Very few other hikers all day for a weekend in the canyon and nobody at the Waldron TH .
_____________________
2 archives
Oct 30 2016
slowandsteady
avatar

 Routes 67
 Photos 966
 Triplogs 694

47 female
 Joined Jan 05 2012
 Phoenix,AZ
Waldron-Dripping Springs-Silver Bell Loop, AZ 
Waldron-Dripping Springs-Silver Bell Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Oct 30 2016
slowandsteady
Hiking12.27 Miles 3,063 AEG
Hiking12.27 Miles   6 Hrs      2.18 mph
3,063 ft AEG      23 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners partners
BiFrost
_____________________
Mar 19 2015
friendofThundergod
avatar

 Guides 28
 Routes 315
 Photos 9,172
 Triplogs 874

39 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
S.Bass to Silver Bell, AZ 
S.Bass to Silver Bell, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Mar 19 2015
friendofThundergod
Backpack53.00 Miles 10,900 AEG
Backpack53.00 Miles4 Days         
10,900 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
John put together a nice four day trek to the Gems for the six of us. The shuttle was our biggest obstacle entering the trip. However, Karl and I solved that problem by volunteering to drive both cars back to our end trail head (Silver Bell) and then hiking the 11 miles back to our starting TH South Bass. I will admit I had lost some of my enthusiasm for the 11 mile road walk to start our trip, so on a suggestion from Chumley and John we asked the guy at the reservation boundary gate if he wanted to make a little extra money. He was unable to help but his uncle took up our offer and followed us to silver bell and then dropped us off at the TH for S. Bass, saving us 11 miles of forest road walking and putting us just a couple hours behind the main group.

We reunited with the group at a cool little camp site located along the ledges of Serpentine Canyon. The shuttle help turned day one into a nice pleasant hike down S. Bass, with time enough left over to make a trip to the Colorado. The only blemish on an otherwise perfect day was me missing the ruins coming down S. Bass.

Day two was a pretty modest 10 mile movement to our next camp. We all left late and found the Tonto to be warm at times, but managed just fine. Another cool camp, another night sleeping on ledge for me and another late night for me ;)

Day three required an earlier start with 15 miles of the Tonto to cover to get to Boucher. I loved the Tonto at moments and cursed it at times, but generally enjoyed it. We seemed to all cover the Tonto pretty quickly and made it to Boucher just in time to enjoy our non-shaded site. We located the route down into Slate Creek and mulled a potential trip back, but not in the works for day three. The only other eventful activity of day three was the trip down to Boucher Rapids.

I dreaded day four a little because of the climb up Boucher. However, I did not find the climb to be that bad and I was at Dripping Springs and the start of the Silver Bell before I knew it. I really liked the Silver Bell route. It was a little challenging, but nothing overwhelming and a great way to hike out of the canyon. John and I reached the vehicles first and drove to the boundary line road. When Chumley arrived we just picked up the rest of the group as they came out along the Boundary Road, once all accounted for it was to Flag for pizza.

Final thanks to John for going through the permit process and keeping me safe, Chumley and Karl for driving, some props to Kathy for hanging in there with a cold and a special thanks to clairebear for watching my delinquents.
Culture
Culture
Intrepid Back Shot
_____________________
8 archives
Mar 19 2015
Tough_Boots
avatar

 Routes 67
 Photos 2,708
 Triplogs 755

64 male
 Joined Mar 28 2008
 Phoenix, AZ
South Bass to Silver Bell - THE GEMS, AZ 
South Bass to Silver Bell - THE GEMS, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Mar 19 2015
Tough_Boots
Backpack51.00 Miles 11,050 AEG
Backpack51.00 Miles4 Days         
11,050 ft AEG37 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
9L put together a real hum-dinger of a trip :)

Thursday morning we headed down South Bass. We did some miles on the Tonto, hit the Colorado a couple times, and camped in some beautiful places. Sunday finally arrived and we headed up. There is no warm up-- just up. And then there is more up. And a lot more up. And then there is a cooler with beer.

Great time with some great people :D
_____________________
1 archive
Mar 19 2015
BiFrost
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 375
 Photos 8,365
 Triplogs 1,017

52 male
 Joined Nov 20 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
South Bass to Silver Bell - THE GEMS, AZ 
South Bass to Silver Bell - THE GEMS, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Mar 19 2015
BiFrost
Backpack51.48 Miles 9,238 AEG
Backpack51.48 Miles4 Days         
9,238 ft AEG
 
1st trip
The GEMS in the Grand Canyon was the objective for this long weekend. John9L set the route and planning the hike so we had to just show up. However, we did have a shuttle to setup and Chumley suggested we ask the Res gate guys for a ride. So while the others headed down South Bass FOTG and I managed to get one Res guy for a modest fee to shuttle us back to South Bass TH. We were about 2 hours behind the others but no problem and we made Serpentine Canyon Camp 1 by early afternoon. Early enough to venture down to the Colorado to enjoy the river.

Day 2 it was 10+ miles on the Tonto Trail over to Turquoise Canyon for the second night. Passed thru several side drainages along with Ruby Canyon where we had lunch and grabbed some shade before reaching Turquoise. Nice camp with some narrows and rock benches for camping.

Day 3 was the longest day at 15 miles of nothing but Tonto Trail. We passed several more of the Gems Sapphire, Agate, and Slate in route to Boucher and Camp 3. Somewhat hot on the Tonto so we headed down to the Colorado to cool off. Then back to camp at Boucher and relaxing evening listening to the frogs.

Day 4 we all headed out early to get up the trail before the heat set in and have time to make the significant climb up Boucher Trail. We took a break at Yuma Point enjoying the great views and then continued on to Dripping Springs for another short break. Then up the Silver Bell Trail which I'd never been on before. Cool trail but the bottom is really rough and unmaintained. Nice to take a different exit out of the canyon for a change. Finally made it out with the rest of the group waiting so we could hit the road for Flag to enjoy pizza and wings at NiMarcos. Great weekend in the canyon!!

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Boucher Creek Medium flow Medium flow
decent pools in and around the camp area

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Dripping Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Ruby Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
small pools with light trickle

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Sapphire Creek - GC Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
small pools with light trickle

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Serpentine Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
small pools with trickle

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Serpentine Creek - GC Light flow Light flow
light flow with multiple pool options

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Slate Creek Light flow Light flow
small pools with light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Turquoise Creek - GC Light flow Light flow
small pools with light flow
_____________________
1 archive
Mar 19 2015
John9L
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 174
 Photos 5,442
 Triplogs 1,640

male
 Joined Mar 12 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
South Bass to Silver Bell via the Tonto Trail, AZ 
South Bass to Silver Bell via the Tonto Trail, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Mar 19 2015
John9L
Backpack53.75 Miles 10,500 AEG
Backpack53.75 Miles4 Days         
10,500 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Another memorable trip to the Canyon is complete! A group of six of us made the trek along the Tonto through The Gems over the course of four days. This was an amazing hike and we covered a lot of ground. Water was our biggest concern but we found plenty. Shade was also a premium. The following is a day by day triplog of our adventure.

Wednesday, March 18
Our group left Phoenix on Wednesday evening in two vehicles and made our way to Flagstaff where we topped off gas and grabbed some food at Crystal Creek. From there we drove all the way to the South Bass Trailhead. FR328 was completely dried out and relatively easy to follow. The Havasupai Gate was unmanned but we had to pay the following morning when arranging the shuttle. We camped at the South Bass Trailhead and turned in before midnight

Thursday, March 19
We woke on Thursday morning and started getting geared up. Karl and Lee left fairly early in the two vehicles to set up the shuttle. They paid a Havasupai member at the entrance gate to shuttle them between FR2501/2506 and the South Bass Trailhead. The total came to $100 ($25 for each vehicle and $50 for the shuttle). This worked out really well!

The rest of us started hiking around mid-morning and took our time dropping down the South Bass Trail. This trail was dried out and in excellent condition and easy to follow. We made decent time as we reached the Esplanade and then started the drop into Bass Canyon through the Supai and Redwall. This Redwall break is quite possibly the easiest break outside the corridor. The trail makes an easy descent through the break and then it’s high speed along the Bright Angel Shale. We arrived at the Tonto junction and gathered all four of us and then made the last few miles to Serpentine Canyon where we found cool and clear water and plenty of campsites.

About an hour after getting camp set up Karl and Lee showed up to our surprise. They told us about hiring the shuttle and this saved them at least two hours of hiking. They got situated and then our group day hiked to the Colorado River. The route down the wash is fairly easy to follow with a few minor obstacles in the way. We took a break at the Colorado River and I filtered three liters with my Sawyer Squeeze. The river was murky but easy to filter. From there our group returned to camp and settled in for the evening.

Friday, March 20
Our group started hiking around mid-morning as we only had ten miles to reach Turquoise Canyon for our second night’s camp. The going was easy at first but became more difficult as the sun beat down and temps rose into the 80’s. We reached Ruby Canyon around the five mile mark and took an extended break there. Ruby provided the rare opportunity for shade and there were a few small pools of water right at the trail crossing. We all rested here and filled up on water and drank electrolytes. From there we continued the final five miles to Turquoise Canyon where we set up camp.

Turquoise Canyon had lots of good camping available. FOTG and I selected sites under an overhang while the others set up just below us. There was good water available about a minute up canyon. After getting camp set up I went for a solo walk down canyon. I was surprised to find a full blown creek about a quarter mile down canyon. This area is so lush and beautiful! I spent just under an hour exploring. I wish I had more time and energy. I was curious if one can walk all the way to the river or if any obstacles impede progress. Anyways I returned to camp and all of us settled in for another night in paradise!

Saturday, March 21
All of us left camp fairly early around 7am. We have a long day ahead of us. We need to cross three major drainages and make it the fifteen miles to Boucher Camp. We wanted to get a jump on the heat. The first few miles were in shade and the temps were cool. All of us made good time as we reached Sapphire where we found good water at the crossing. We continued on and reached Agate which was dry. It was another five miles to Slate where we took an extended break in the shade. There was plenty of good water at the Slate crossing. Once again we refilled and drank electrolytes. From there we continued east and passed the monument that provides access to the bed of Slate Creek. FOTG and I wanted to go down there but didn’t have the energy. We want to plan another trip in the future.

It was a long day hiking but we finally reached Boucher Camp and set up camp. Afterward the four of us settle next to the creek in a shaded area and waited for Karl and Kathy to arrive. Sitting and relaxing is such a treat in the Canyon. It’s nice to not move after the long mileage day! Karl and Kathy arrived soon after and set up camp. From there the five of us, excluding Kathy, day hiked down Boucher to the river. This is a very easy hike and it was nice seeing the river up close for the second time. We all returned to camp and settled in for our last evening in the Canyon.

Sunday, March 22
All of us were dreading the hike out Boucher. The plan was to start early and exit the Canyon via the Silver Bell Trail. We’ll have to walk a few miles cross country through the forest and connect to the Boundary Road where the two vehicles are parked. The hike up Boucher was the typical grind but was easier with the early start. I hit the trail right at 6:30am and had cool weather and shade all the way to the top of the Supai. I continued the sunny traverse to Dripping Springs were I saw FOTG on the lower portion of Silver Bell. He said he would wait for me near the top.

The hike up Silver Bell was a joy! The old route has deteriorated but is easy to follow although very steep and loose in places. I didn’t realize how much elevation you gain there. You basically have to climb the Coconino, Toroweap and Kaibab layers. The climb is around a thousand feet and it took some effort! I met FOTG when the trail levels off in the forest and we followed an old road for a bit and then went cross country through the forest to the Boundary Road. Once there we headed west and connected on FR2506. The vehicles were about fifteen minutes down the road. We were both very happy and spent when we reached the vehicles. From there we played roundup and gathered the entire group. After that it was off to NiMarcos in Flag for pizza and wings!


This was one hell of a trip! We covered a lot of ground and saw a large portion of the Grand Canyon. Be careful when planning this hike because some of the drainages are seasonal and will dry up in the hot months. Thanks to Chumley and BiFrost for driving! And the entire group was a lot of fun and I look forward to the next adventure!
Culture
Culture
Campsite
_____________________
1 archive
Mar 19 2015
chumley
avatar

 Guides 84
 Routes 693
 Photos 16,309
 Triplogs 1,625

48 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
South Bass to Silver Bell via the Gems, AZ 
South Bass to Silver Bell via the Gems, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Mar 19 2015
chumley
Backpack51.80 Miles 10,767 AEG
Backpack51.80 Miles4 Days         
10,767 ft AEG39 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
So this trip covers what is commonly known as "The Gems" -- The Tonto Trail between South Bass and Boucher.

For people who make this journey, the biggest factor is water availability. The NPS officially reports that there are no reliable sources of water along this route, though seasonally water can be found in some of the drainages. For those who read this doing research for a future trip, I'll start with the water report. (You may view the map and click each water source to see reports from trips other than this one.)

Water Report:
The 2014/2015 winter was near normal for precipitation in northern Arizona. It was unusually warm however, and most storms dropped rain on the south rim rather than snow. On our trip start date of 3/19, there was no snow pack anywhere on the south rim. There was no mud or any other sign of recent moisture on the road. The last precipitation had fallen on 3/2 ... a storm that dropped 1-2" of rain in the canyon with about a foot of snow on the South Rim. So it had been totally dry, sunny, and warm for 16 days when we began our hike.

In order west to east:
Bass: dry with isolated pools 1/2 mile below Tonto
Serpentine: pools and light flow at crossing. Nobody got sick from drinking it.
Emerald: pools and light flow
Quartz: dry
Ruby: dry with a few pools in rock
Jade: dry
Jasper: dry
Turquoise: pools and light flow above Tonto crossing. Very nice flow down canyon from crossing.
Sapphire: some pools and a light trickle at Tonto crossing.
Agate: dry
Slate: pools at crossing, light flow and larger pools just upstream of crossing
Topaz: dry
Boucher: flowing as normal. A reliable source all year.

A different time of year, or a different quantity of precipitation over the winter and your results may vary. Turquoise and Slate seem to be the most likely to find water. Serpentine is apparently fairly reliable in cooler months, but some have reported stomach illness due to mineral content. We did not experience that and 5 of us drank plenty from Serpentine.

The Gems:
Not really sure why it's called this. Of the officially named canyons (Serpentine, Ruby, Turquoise, Sapphire, Agate, Slate, and Topaz) one could argue that there are a few minerals that aren't gems. The unofficially named canyons don't help. In any case, it's all a ruse of reverse psychology since there are no rocks in any of these canyons that resemble their given names. In fact, there's nothing exotic, or particularly scenic about any of this trip! It's as if the names are given to give a false impression of something special!

Don't get me wrong. You're in the Grand Canyon. Thirty miles of absolute solitude in the middle of one of the 7 wonders of the world. On several occasions I looked around and felt incredibly small. It's a great perspective. But unless you are motivated to hike a trail just because it's on a map, this isn't the most scenic or interesting route you could spend your time on. (And yes, I realize there are plenty of people who are motivated by that).

The Hike:
John put this together, and I appreciate his planning. He was confident about our water sources (but gave up on Serpentine and hiked to the river to filter after a passing hiker told us a friend had gotten sick two years ago -- the rest of us drank it and survived just fine.) Approaching each drainage, we all would begin to doubt if water would be available, but it's amazing how accustomed you become to thinking a small pool is more than enough! Water was never a problem for us. I think we all carried more than necessary in anticipation of not finding any.

The Tonto is a great trail when it's out on the platform parallel to the river. When it dives into the drainages, it's a pain in the ass. If it was all on the platform, the hike would be so much more pleasant, but I would guess far more than half of it is in the drainages. The northern/western half is much rougher than the southern/eastern half. Serpentine, Emerald, Quartz and Ruby especially. The southern/eastern half canyons are easier to get through, with the exception of the two miles getting out of Slate Canyon which is rough. The descent into Topaz/Boucher is steep and loose, but at that point, you can see water and know that camp is near, so motivation and adrenalin easily overcomes the rest.

On our way out we opted for the Dripping Springs Route, formerly the Silver Bell Trail - the original trail built by Boucher from above Dripping Springs to his camp near the river. This old route is the real gem on this trip and a very pleasant way to exit the canyon without dealing with the crowds and tourists one would normally encounter by exiting on the Hermit Trail.

The Group:
It was great to hike with Kathy, Karl, Lee, John, and Kyle. Everybody is independent and hiked on their own, but also of similar ability and speed that we were all within a short distance of each other each day. It was nice to gather together each night at camp for dinner and desserts. Some people snore louder than mating canyon tree frogs, but luckily, ear plugs were packed and sleep was not interrupted. Also, some people seem to think that 4:30 is a perfectly normal time to get up in the morning. I'm still not sure why. :zzz:
Geology
Geology
Vishnu Schist
Culture
Culture
Campsite

dry Agate Canyon Dry Dry
Dry at the Tonto crossing

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Bass Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Secondhand report from other hikers. Small pools in the rock 1/4-1/2 mile down from the Tonto junction.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Boucher Creek Light flow Light flow
Nice consistent flow. Some short sections go underground between Boucher Trail and the Colorado River.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Emerald Canyon (Gems unofficial) Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Visible pools and some light flow between them at the Tonto crossing

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Jade Canyon (Gems unofficial) Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
No flow visible. One pot in the rocks with 20 or so gallons available for filtering



water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Ruby Creek - GC Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
No flow at all at Tonto crossing. A couple of small pots with stagnant water.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Sapphire Creek - GC Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
A few small pools and a light trickle at the Tonto crossing

dry Serpentine Canyon Dry Dry
No flow from Serpentine at the Colorado. Trip down from the Tonto was dry the entire way.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Serpentine Creek - GC Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Dry 100 feet below and 100 feet above the Tonto crossing. But pools and light trickle at crossing were enough for a night at camp. Reports that Serpentine is mineralized did not prove true for our group. Water tasted fine and 5 of us filtered and drank several liters each with no ill effects.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Slate Creek Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
A couple of stagnant pools at the crossing, but 50 yards upstream, light flow and small cascades at least as far as 300 yards and probably farther. I didn't explore any farther.

dry Topaz Canyon Dry Dry
No flow in Topaz, but who needs it with Boucher so close?

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Turquoise Creek - GC Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Dry at crossing, but a seep just upstream provided a light trickle. About 300 yards upstream a good size tub about 3 feet deep provided plenty of water, and a good place to take a dip! The tub is very sheltered and should hold water for a long time into the hottest and driest times of year.
_____________________
33s over 45s
5 archives
Mar 19 2015
slowandsteady
avatar

 Routes 67
 Photos 966
 Triplogs 694

47 female
 Joined Jan 05 2012
 Phoenix,AZ
South Bass to Silver Bell - THE GEMS, AZ 
South Bass to Silver Bell - THE GEMS, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Mar 19 2015
slowandsteady
Backpack47.88 Miles 8,878 AEG
Backpack47.88 Miles4 Days         
8,878 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners partners
BiFrost
chumley
friendofThundergod
John9L
Tough_Boots
I was super excited to have been invited on this trip. I thought maybe I was getting a cold, but no way was I going to back out on the opportunity due to a little cough.

It was an adventure to see a new area of the Grand Canyon. I learned that crows will eat cough drops but will pass up Nyquil. It was comforting to find out that even those who appear extremely fit and excel at hiking will also dread that last day and the hike out!

My only regret is not making it down to Boucher Rapids...now it will eat at me until I get to go back!

I also want to do a Waldron-Dripping Springs-Silver Bell Loop now...
_____________________
Oct 21 2013
Dave1
avatar

 Routes 29
 Photos 1,548
 Triplogs 1,802

45 male
 Joined Jan 25 2009
 Phoenix, AZ
Waldron TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 21 2013
Dave1
Hiking19.00 Miles 4,200 AEG
Hiking19.00 Miles
4,200 ft AEG
 
1st trip
The purpose of this hike was to knock out the Waldron Trail which I haven't done before. Now I've done almost all the South Rim named trails. Just need the lower section of South Bass (below the Tonto junction), Great Thumb Route, and Havasu Creek from Beaver Falls to the Colorado River.

Started down Hermit :next: up Waldron :next: unnamed rim trail to Boundary Line Road :next: down Silver Bell Trail (aka Dripping Springs Trail but I call it what the guy who built it called it) :next: back up Hermit :next: Rim trail to Mohave point.

Checked out Sweetheart Spring just a couple hundred yards north of the Hermit trail, at the Coconino/Hermit contact. Also checked out the 4 sisters near Hermit Trail.
Geology
Geology
Natural Bridge
Named place
Named place
Horsethief Tank
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate

dry Horsethief Tank Dry Dry
The grass at the bottom was moist but overall the tank was dry. A dead elk was right next to it.
_____________________
Mar 24 2013
Dave1
avatar

 Routes 29
 Photos 1,548
 Triplogs 1,802

45 male
 Joined Jan 25 2009
 Phoenix, AZ
Tonto Trail: Boucher Trail to South Bass TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Mar 24 2013
Dave1
Backpack56.29 Miles 10,714 AEG
Backpack56.29 Miles2 Days         
10,714 ft AEG30 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Got to the Backcountry office Sunday at 8am only to find a crowd of people waiting. Got my number and waited about 30min. Ranger Christy (with a K?)recognized me from a few weeks ago and was cool not to make me fill out the permit or hiker info forms and didn't question me about the route. Awesome! Permit in hand for BO9.

I set out on FR328 from near the kennels behind the Maswick lodge. After mile marker 15, I drove FR2501 to FR2506 to the Boundary Line Road. These 2 roads are quite rough and require high clearance and no fear of losing some paint. Started out hiking along the BLR for about 5 miles until I could make a bee-line through the junipers for South Bass TH. Another 6 miles and I was at the real start to this hike.

Made good time down the South Bass were I found no snow and very little mud. At the South Bass/Esplanade junction I searched for the water cache I had left in 2011 for Liz and Paul but it was gone. Continued on down SB until the turn off for the east bound Tonto. This section of the Tonto is probably the least traveled and can be difficult to follow in some spots, usually on the open Tonto platform. Over all though it wasn't too bad and I only got off trail a handful of times.

I won't lie, this trail gets kind of repetitive after a while as all the side canyons you have to contour around start to look the same. Maybe I was just tired? Glad I finally got this one done though. Its nice to kind of zone out on these long hikes but because of the faintness of this trail you really need to stay alert and watch for cairns. That makes it feel even longer.

It was dark by 7:20 but I wanted to get at least 30 miles in the first day so I continued on by headlamp until about 9pm. If following this trail in daylight is challenging, you know at night its even worse. With Serpentine, Emerald, Quartz, Ruby, Jade and Jasper done I made camp on the Tonto platform between Jasper and Turquoise Canyons. Didn't get much sleep due to the near full moon beaming down on my face (I didn't bring a tent). At 4am the moon finally fell behind the canyon walls but then the mosquitoes came out. I really wished I had a tent.

Even though I didn't get much sleep, it felt good to lay down and rest my legs after 30 tough, up and down and in and out miles. The nighttime temperature got down to about 30 degrees but with zero wind I stayed warm enough in my down bag. As I lay there I noticed some pain in the arch of my left foot. It seamed to get worse through the night and was almost impossible to put weight on it whenever I got up to pee. I wondered how I would do 26 miles tomorrow??? Fortunately I found that once I put my sneakers on and got moving the pain was manageable.

On the trail again by 7am. I knew I had a long day ahead of me but with almost half my water gone, my pack was damn near feather light. Or maybe not. Turquoise, Sapphire, Agate, Slate done. Now just climb down into Topaz, cross over to Boucher, up Boucher to Dripping Springs, up the Silver Bell Trail and across the juniper forest to the Boundary Road. I saw my first hikers in Boucher Camp and then a few more along the trail. The Silver Bell was probably the highlight of the trip. Maybe because I was so glad to be almost done or maybe it really is a neat trail. I'd definitely like to go back and do that one again. The Tonto? Maybe.

There is not much water along this route so I carried all of my water for 2 days (9 liters carried, 8 liters used). Also the Colorado River is running brown right now. I didn't explore up or down any of the canyons due to limited time and energy so all water reports are at the Tonto crossings. Serpentine was running at maybe a 1/2 gallon/minute but most people say the water is undrinkable due to excess minerals. Maybe with a higher flow its ok to drink? Ruby had a few potholes. Boucher had the usual good flow. All others were dry.

With this one done, I have now hiked, in sections, from the Little Colorado all the way to Elve's Chasm. This hike also puts me over 1,000 lifetime miles at the canyon. :y:

edit: slight flow in Sapphire Canyon
Geology
Geology
Goethite
_____________________
Mar 20 2012
nonot
avatar

 Guides 98
 Routes 249
 Photos 2,067
 Triplogs 495

male
 Joined Nov 18 2005
 Phoenix, AZ
Dripping Springs - Grand CanyonNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Mar 20 2012
nonot
Backpack60.50 Miles 12,000 AEG
Backpack60.50 Miles5 Days         
12,000 ft AEG45 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
1st trip
4.5 day trip: The "Gems"

Nice on the rim, the Dripping Spring Trail (Old Boucher) is still recognizable - overgrown but not too bad.

Found people at Dripping Spring, headed down the Hermit. The Hermit is annoying - up and down and up and down before the redwall plunge. A bit hot out. Made it to the creek, tired, found a few backpackers but didn't talk much.

Left the next morning - travertine canyon is obviously named - very interesting. Boucher was flowing - interesting old cabin site. Back up to the Tonto - Slate was dry. Not good, and I ended up having less water than I thought at the end of the day.

That evening into the next morning the big rains hit. Seemed about 2 inches to me. Had an inch around my tent. Filtered water while in my sleeping bag - that's a first. But the water was sorely needed. Thank you for inventing tents with tub floors. I wake up - there is no water to be seen. I was on a ledge well away from the main drainage. If only it was bright out I could imagine seeing the maelstrom during the shower.

The next day the Tonto is getting worse. There are places there are 3 separate trails 20 feet apart, then they go their separate ways. Some veer off and just end. Gets overgrown in places too. Hoofed it a bit past Ruby to somewhere around Quartz. Found pools in nearly all the drainages. I think my water concerns are no more, but after the scare at Slate I continue to overload and carry more than needed.

The next day I make it to S Bass a little past mid-day. I take a wonderful hike down to the river, find the beach all to myself, and take a few photos. Find a backpacker on the way back to camp - he's had a rough time, without the rain I wonder if he would've just perished out there, but he's on the trail and bound to complete his itinerary - he seems in a good mood too. I guess I would if I'd have been off-route for days and just found the trail again.

The next day I hike out - 3hrs 10 mins from my camp @ Tonto intersection (I was good until the Coconino and dragged that last mile) and hitch a ride back to my vehicle with a ranger also leaving that same day. We caravan back to the highway before parting ways, thankful we both make it without mishap.

Water report
3/16: Dripping Springs - dripping, 2 small pools
3/16: Hermit Creek - flowing @ Tonto
3/17: Travertine - dry @ Tonto
3/17: Boucher Creek - flowing @ Tonto
3/17: Slate - dry @ Tonto and below Tonto, looking upstream looked dry, no water shining on the pouroff, but did not investigate
3/17: Agate - dry

3/17 8PM -3/18 3AM is when the big storm hit

3/18: Agate - 2 small pools were all that was left near the Tonto, may not last long, the canyon doesn't seem to "hold" the water
3/18: Sapphire - small pools in canyon @ Tonto
3/18: Turquoise - trickle flow, large pools @ Tonto. However the potholes of water was reddish/tannin colored, either from the water or the bottom of the bottom of the pothole, likely the latter, the east arm had clearer pools that won't last long.
3/18: Jasper - small pothole pools @ Tonto
3/18: Jade - small pothole pools @ Tonto
3/18: Ruby - trickle flow, large pools @ Tonto
3/18: Quartz - tiny pools @ Tonto (more in the side drainages)
3/19: Emerald - small pools @ Tonto
3/19: Serpentine - light flow, big pools @ Tonto *warning that this water can be too high in mineralization for some
3/19: South Bass - pothole pools between Tonto and pouroff before the beach

In addition there were a few small pothole pools in many side drainages after the storm. I was surprised that more weren't flowing, given that while it was raining there was 1-2 inches of water everywhere, including around my tent (well high above the main drainage)

S Bass trail conditions were surprisingly good after the snow. Snow from trailhead to just before you reach the esplanade and melting fast. Road conditions to S Bass are awful, bring 4WD high clearance with a locker preferable and expect lots and lots of mud and slip-sliding...Each vehicle got 60 degrees sideways a few times. I brought home at least 30 lbs of mud stuck to the vehicle (running boards hold it). Or else postpone until it dries out a bit.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Boucher Creek Medium flow Medium flow
Medium flow when you first reach it from the east. It must go partially underground because in less than a mile it is down to light flow.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Dripping Spring Dripping Dripping
2 nice pools, dripping fast. Filter from the side one if you need to.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Hermit Creek Medium flow Medium flow
Good flow @ Tonto.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Ruby Creek - GC Light flow Light flow
Light flow with several pools. Very nice!

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Santa Maria Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
trickling out the pipe, the trough is full.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Sapphire Creek - GC Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
A few pools

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Serpentine Creek - GC Light flow Light flow
Light flow w/pools. Warning: some have trouble with Serpentine water due to high mineral content. But it's better than dehydration, so choose carefully.

dry Slate Creek Dry Dry
No water seen @ Tonto or below Tonto, above Tonto looked dry but did not investigate.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Turquoise Creek - GC Light flow Light flow
Very light trickle, but filtered from a side drainage where it was clearer.
_____________________
http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php

Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, ankle-twisting, HAZmaster crushing ROCKS!!
Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, shin-stabbing, skin-shredding plants!
Hike Arizona it is full of striking, biting, stabbing, venomous wildlife!
Mar 17 2011
toddak
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 7
 Photos 1,244
 Triplogs 477

56 male
 Joined Nov 15 2005
 Puhoynix, AZ
Tonto Trail: Boucher Trail to South Bass TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Mar 17 2011
toddak
Backpack40.00 Miles 4,000 AEG
Backpack40.00 Miles4 Days         
4,000 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
Vaporman
winklersh
Another fine stretch for the hard core Tonto enthusiast, west to east via South Bass, exiting via Boucher and Dripping Springs to finish off the full Tonto. Very nice to have good water in almost every canyon. Thanks to Brian for planning and coordinating.
_____________________
1 archive
average hiking speed 2.17 mph

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

helpcommentissue

end of page marker